Burning hearts, burning rubber

By Ali DeRees

It is the week where automakers and car enthusiasts alike are revved up for the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at the COBO Center in Detroit. 

Students are the ideal market for the automotive industry. They will be buying the cars featured in this show in the near future and automakers are paying attention to their wants and needs.


Eletric avenue

Ford’s Chief Engineer of Electrified Powertrain Systems Dr. Mazen Hammoud described the rise and importance of electric cars, specifically, the 2014 Ford Focus Electric.

 Hammoud says that Ford is looking to “find ways beyond powertrain (motor)” to help power their future and create a cleaner environment.

With an EPA estimated MPGe of 110 (city), this all-electric vehicle is powered by a large lithium-ion battery and an electric motor.

 Ford now has an app called My Ford Mobile in which users can track battery life in their Focus Electric, according to Hammoud.

The Focus also offers a system called Brake Coach. Regenerative breaking using electricity from the motor is used instead of the traditional friction applied to the tires. There is a screen found above the steering wheel that gives you a score on the severity of your braking.

Hammoud says that showing drivers their breaking patterns helps them to make less aggressive stops and ,therefore, creating more fuel efficiency.

Other technologies that come with the Focus include automatic steering that corrects your steering and an alarm system that signals when a driver will collide with another car, Hammoud said.

Hammoud says that there is a growing demand for electrical engineers within Ford. He encourages graduating OU students with engineering degrees to apply for jobs at Ford, noting that the Vice President of Powertrain is an Oakland University graduate.


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Chrysler unveiled the 2015 Chrysler 200, a reasonably priced mid-sized sedan. 

Manager of the Chrysler 200 Product Communications Kathy Graham described the 2015 200 as vehicle that is “all new from the ground up.”

 With an EPA estimated 35 mpg, the Chrysler 200 is both fuel efficient and advanced in it’s technology with a “thoughtful interior,” Graham said. 

 Making technology that could be used by all ages was very important when it came to designing this vehicle.

  The 200 has what Graham calls a “smart use of small space.” This includes compartments to hold and charge specific items such as a tablet and cell phone.

 The vehicle also includes the Smart Uconnect system. This includes a GPS navigation and voice recognition technology.

The “text to talk” feature on Uconnect allows you to listen to text messages you receive as well as send texts orally with your phone programmed to the car, according to Graham. 

Graham believes that the 200 is the perfect car for students on the go. They do nothave to sacrifice style or ease to get a quality vehicle.

The Auto Show is open Saturday, Jan. 18 through Saturday, January 25, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday, Jan. 26, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.